Friday, 9 November 2012
The chill is deepening here in London and my only escape is to steep my thoughts in tea and reminisce on recent adventures.
The tea of choice is Mariage Freres' Yuzu Temple. The adventure is.....
We bullet-railed our way from Tokyo to Kyoto early one Monday morning. Excited but still sleep bitten whilst an ambush of varying scenery swished passed us. We were awe-striken by Mount Fuji and lulled into snoozing by the small cities en route.
Our first destination upon hitting Kyoto ground was Kiyomizudera (translated literally as the pure water temple).
Kiyomizudera is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. It's easy to see why, it's stunning perch and fascinating heritage is awe-inspiring.
The current buildings date back to 1633 so I can only wonder how many millions of people have stood and gazed over the lush hillside from the famous veranda.
The temple was built with astonishing skill and a genuine knowledge and understanding of wood. The veranda is positioned on pillars 12 meters high and the structure constructed without the use of a single nail. A truly impressive feat that must have required an extraordinary level of precision and it is by virtue to the workmanship of the builders that Kiyomizudera still stands magnificently today.
We were too early to witness the foliage in its flame-like autumnal resplendence. However, this was a wonderful experience for me and a chance to dip my toes into the history of Japan.
The customs, beliefs, hopes and history colour the surroundings giving a real feeling of wonderment to a curious soul like me.
For instance, to the right of the above collage, are wooden prayer plaques known as "ema". Worshippers scribe their prayers upon them and leave them hanging at shrines for the gods to receive them. It's quite moving to see the wishes of others hanging in sentimental clusters like this.